In Spanish, when a woman gives birth, we refer to it as “dar a luz” or “ to give to the light”. I never thought about the significance much until I got more in depth with my prenatal yoga studies, and for the past few months, my soul has been singing that phrase to my mind and heart like a soundtrack on repeat in both languages “Give to the light, dar a luz…give to the light, dar a luz…give to the light, dar a luz…”
The reason behind the use of this phrase is layered. Some explanations say it has religious connotations around the birth of Jesus and how he was the light of the world. Others say it’s because of the darkness of the womb, and the baby emerging into light. And still another perspective is that children are lights in the world and specifically in the life of their parents and loved ones.
My own interpretation is that a baby is a new soul, entering the world as a spark of divinity, and adding its unique brilliance and gifts to the big collective light, the source, the big kahuna- God, Universe, I really don’t care what you call it (see my December 2016 blog for more on this topic).
I don’t have children and when I was doing my prenatal studies, I worried about how my students would receive that, until a very wise teacher and doula reminded me that most OB-GYN’s are men. This cured me immediately and forever of any concern. I was also reminded that giving birth is something that isn’t taught or learned- it is just KNOWN, natural and innate, and that whether I have children or not, I know how to do it. It was such an empowering thing to hear since usually, women are trained to believe birth is this mystery and terror the pain of which their frail sensibilities will not be able to bear, so they must load up on epidurals or better yet, schedule the c-section in advance. How liberating and amazing to know that in fact the opposite is true: we have this incredible and powerful privilege, this exclusive ability and otherworldly strength to bring life forth.
The training tapped into something primal in me, as a woman but more importantly as a divine spark in my own right. There are so many ways to give to the light, and never a more important time to do it than now. In these times that feel mad, uncertain and opaque.
We can feed the darkness of this new reality through doubt and fear, or we can nurture our creativity and compassion and give to the light.
All you need to give to the light is the courage to march in protest, raising your voice in support of love and equality. You can give to the light with pen to paper, or fingers to keypad, or camera to image, brush to canvas, hands to drums, feet to rhythm, body to mat, knees to altar, voice to chant, words to speech, hearts and souls in hand. You can give to the light by putting down the drink, choosing the kind word, doing the right thing, taking time to help, smiling, forgiving, apologizing, listening, and starting over again and again and again. Each time you start over, you give to the light. Birth is not just a physical experience, and in this way it is not exclusive to any gender. It is creativity, it is kindness, it is moment to moment, choice by choice, breath by breath.
Unfortunately much like the powerful experience of giving birth has been demonized and dramatized negatively by the entertainment industry and media, so too have creativity, compassion and the courage to start over been viewed as weak, unglamorous and unrewarding in our culture. Even though they too are our true, natural states; even though from the moment we are born, everything we do is looking to find our way back to that innate simplicity of being. As long as I can remember, we’ve been told and taught to be right, win at all costs, be perfect or at least pretend you are, make more money, buy a bigger house, and get a good zinger in on that asshole who crossed you and if you can do it in public and cause humiliation even better. The heartbreaking, terrifying and deeply demoralizing thing is that it this is now being propagated from the very highest office in our country and arguably the world.
So we MUST give to the light. NOW MORE THAN EVER, this must be our continual work. To re-birth ourselves through the awakening these recent events in history have stirred. We all came into this world as these crystal, clear rays of brilliance with our own kind of loving and beauty to contribute- and maybe life trauma or the narrative of our families, or the times we live in have buried or dimmed that offering…it’s time to find it again, time to heal and do the work to restore our radiance and SHINE it out like gangbusters. Tiempo de dar a luz. Because the only way out of this mess is through it with a high-beam flashlight to illuminate the way out of the stench and into a new era of justice, peace and love. We can and must do it together. GIVE TO THE LIGHT.